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Food for thought

/ Source: WebMD

What kinds of snacks are good while you are studying? Expert answers this reader’s question.

Question: Are there certain foods that are good to eat while studying? I have a big exam coming up but I’m tired all of the time.

Answer: The worst kinds of snacks would be those that are high in sugar as these foods will cause an initial sugar high followed by a slump, which also means a slump in energy.

I would also recommend avoiding large amounts of carbohydrate even if it is not sugary (i.e. a bagel or a really large portion of pretzels). These foods can also trigger the high (although it will be slower than with the sugary foods) followed by the slump. In addition, carbs, when eaten alone, can cause an increased production of serotonin. This can make you sleepy.

The best snacks are those that contain some protein, maybe a little fat, and some carbs. Suggestions include peanut butter and crackers, fruit and nuts, yogurt, cottage cheese, and a medium-sized bowl of popcorn.

Martha McKittrick, RD, CDE, is a registered dietitian, certified diabetes educator, and certified fitness instructor who specializes in weight control, cardiovascular health, diabetes, sports, and general nutrition.

WebMD content is provided to MSNBC by the editorial staff of WebMD. The MSNBC editorial staff does not participate in the creation of WebMD content and is not responsible for WebMD content. Remember that editorial content is never a substitute for a visit to a health care professional.